Monday, April 10, 2006

Where "Schism" is right now

For those of you, like me, who find it difficult to follow the faultlines in the Anglican Communion, the latest Guardian (UK) article by Stephen Bates is helpful. Referring to proposals within the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) to head of the Diocese of California's election of another openly gay bishop, Bates writes:

Three of the six candidates for the see, including one woman cleric, are openly gay.

In the American Episcopal church, unlike most other parts of the world, bishops are elected by the parishioners of their dioceses, not chosen nationally, giving an extra element of local democratic control but also additional uncertainty about who is selected.

Choosing one of the three could precipitate the long-predicted split in the church, particularly if the choice was then endorsed at the general convention, as the election of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire was by the last convention, three years ago.

Regarding conservative Anglicans outside the US:

The proposals seem unlikely to mollify Anglican bishops in the developing world, particularly Africa, who continue to disparage gays and condemn the decadence of the American church for trying to accommodate them.

Archbishop Peter Akinola, leader of the church in Nigeria, who regularly visits the US as a guest of conservative factions there, recently ordered Nigerian priests working in the Episcopal church to "remove" themselves or face disciplinary action and threatened to start consecrating his own bishops to minister there.

That's right. The same leader of the largest Anglican province in Africa, Archbishop Akinola, who has endorsed legislation in Nigeria that would put those who speak out on behalf of homosexuals within Nigeria's borders in prison for five years, would be the nominal head of congregations in the United States.

How inspiring.

No comments: